Isolation of Medicago truncatula mutants defective in calcium oxalate crystal formation

Plant Physiol. 2000 Nov;124(3):1097-104. doi: 10.1104/pp.124.3.1097.


Plants accumulate crystals of calcium oxalate in a variety of shapes, sizes, amounts, and spatial locations. How and why many plants form crystals of calcium oxalate remain largely unknown. To gain insight into the regulatory mechanisms of crystal formation and function, we have initiated a mutant screen to identify the genetic determinants. Leaves from a chemically mutagenized Medicago truncatula population were visually screened for alterations in calcium oxalate crystal formation. Seven different classes of calcium oxalate defective mutants were identified that exhibited alterations in crystal nucleation, morphology, distribution and/or amount. Genetic analysis suggested that crystal formation is a complex process involving more than seven loci. Phenotypic analysis of a mutant that lacks crystals, cod 5, did not reveal any difference in plant growth and development compared with controls. This finding brings into question the hypothesized roles of calcium oxalate formation in supporting tissue structure and in regulating excess tissue calcium.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Calcium / metabolism
  • Calcium Oxalate / chemistry
  • Calcium Oxalate / metabolism*
  • Crystallization
  • Medicago sativa / genetics*
  • Medicago sativa / metabolism
  • Mutation
  • Phenotype
  • Plant Leaves / cytology
  • Plant Leaves / metabolism


  • Calcium Oxalate
  • Calcium